Genotyping of Campylobacter reveals likely source of Havelock North Campylobacteriosis outbreak

The 2016 outbreak of Campylobacteriosis in Havelock North made over 5000 people violently ill and has been linked to four deaths. In a recent issue of the Journal of Infection, IDReC researchers David Hayman, Nigel French, Ji Zhang, David Wilkinson, Anne Midwinter and Patrick Biggs describe their investigation of this outbreak, linked to contamination of an untreated drinking water supply.

Genotyping of Campylobacter isolates from cases, groundwater samples and sheep fecal specimens helped define the source of the outbreak. Of the 12 Campylobacter genotypes observed in cases, four were also observed in water, three were also observed in sheep and one was also observed in both water and sheep.

The authors conclude that contamination of the water supply occurred following a very heavy rainfall event which caused drainage of sheep feces into a shallow aquifer.


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